Roger Hayden Johnson
Roger Hayden Johnson has been painting since the age of ten, when he begged his parents to buy him a set of oil paints after watching the movie "Lust for Life," in which Kirk Douglas played the role of Vincent Van Gogh. He taught himself to paint the landscapes near the small Iowa farm where he grew up. He later studied art at Central College in Pella, Iowa, and earned a master's degree in art and art history at the University of Northern Iowa.
Johnson met his wife when they were both first-year teachers in a small Iowa town--she was teaching French--and the couple spent a year in Paris, the first of many visits to Europe. For Johnson, it was an invaluable real-life immersion into the art and architecture he had studied and loved, complete with evening art history classes at the Louvre and regular all-day Sunday visits to the famed museum.
Back in the United States, the artist earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Drake University in Des Moines and then returned to Europe with his wife for a three-year stay in Bavaria, where Johnson taught art to the children of businessmen and movie stars at the Munich International School. Again, traveling throughout Europe, he absorbed many centuries' worth of architecture and art, especially enjoying his study of religious architecture. As he considers his own work today, he is struck by the influence stained glass windows must have had on him. Both his paintings and cathedral windows, he notes, are defined by light and contrast--strong, luminous color against black shadows.
Today, Johnson lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Mary, who works for the Library of Congress. They have two grown children — Allen Hayden Johnson, a Web developer in Denver, Colorado, and Anna Elise Johnson, an artist in Los Angeles, California.
Roger Hayden Johnson's works are found in private and museum collections all over the world.